Between them, Marshfield and Mequon Homestead have nine championship game appearances and six state titles, three apiece.
The Tigers and Highlanders accomplished all that in Division 1 competition. Marshfield has been competing in Division 2 since 2005, the year after the school’s latest championship, while Homestead is making its first appearance in D2.
The two teams even have a little bit of history. Homestead beat Marshfield 23-13 in the 1999 D1 state title game. The two teams also clashed in the 2002 state semifinals, with the Tigers winning 13-6 en route to their second straight state crown.
Saturday afternoon, the Tigers and Highlanders will pick up their rivalry at 1 p.m. at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh in a Division 2 state semifinal game.
“They’re a good football team and they’re going to run right at us and try to keep the ball out of our hands,” Marshfield coach Denny Goettl said. “They’ve had a lot of success as a program and coach (Dave) Keel gets it. He understands high school football and he always has his teams prepared.”
The Highlanders (10-1) were the North Shore co-champions with their lone loss being a 14-7 setback to Whitefish Bay in Week 7. The Blue Dukes are playing in the other D2 semifinal game against three-time D2 champ Waunakee.
Homestead has rolled up 2,538 rushing yards as a team with Shaquille Cole leading the charge with 965 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jay Schneider is also a powerful runner having rolled up 755 yards and has 12 TDs to his credit. Schneider has also caught four touchdown passes.
When Homestead goes to the air, quarterback, Jake Laihinen has been respectable, throwing for 622 yards, with eight touchdowns and just three interceptions.
The Tigers are led by school record-holder Riley Gebelein, who has scampered for 1,197 yards and 21 touchdowns, while Keiron Howlett has added 661 yards and six TDs to Marshfield’s rushing attack.
Quarterback Bo Howard has completed 88 of 192 passes for 1,180 yards and 10 scoring strikes. Ryan Trieweiler has caught 30 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns, while Tanner Dennis-Brown has 322 yards and two touchdowns to his credit.
“They have a good defense and so do we, so we’re going to have to score a lot of points,” Goettl said. “Our offense has been running well and when we get a fumble or interception, we have to score on it. We have to capitalize on any extra opportunities we get against them.”
Both teams have been especially active on offense in the second quarter of their games as Marshfield has outscored its opponents 109-31 and Homestead 122-30. The Highlanders have also outscored opponents in the third quarter 104-36.